cover image Heavy Time

Heavy Time

C. J. Cherryh. Warner Books, $19.95 (330pp) ISBN 978-0-446-51616-7

Sure-handed Cherryh returns to the award-winning setting of Rimrunners and Cyteen , taking readers to the frontier where independent asteroid miners Morris Bird and Ben Pollard are struggling against the increasing economic domination of the bureaucratic Company. A mysterious distress signal leads them to a wrecked ship spinning out of control, with its sole remaining crew member, Dekker, crazy and near death. Bird and Ben haul him and his ship back to Base, enduring Dekker's mad ravings and debating the ethics of claiming the craft as salvage. Soon, however, the issue becomes far more complicated--Dekker's story suggests a murder and a Company cover-up, and the political crisis he sparks threatens to do more than deprive Bird and Ben of their salvage. Superbly rendered--with believable social, economic and political backdrops, complex characters, and a tense, well-paced plot--Cherryh's novel proves that high-tech science fiction need not sacrifice literary values. (June)